You are on page 1of 12

FINDING THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE

by Janet Chester Bly


Copyright2008 janet@blybooks.com www.BlyBooks.com

The process of discovering or finding another person is the process of losing oneself. This is certainly not a loss of identity, but only of the false identity that is founded upon self-will. Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, pg.86

Id been dating Jess all summer. A nice guy. Good manners. Pleasant to be around. And he had a motorcycle. We doubled with another couple going to all kinds of car races. But I knew beyond a doubt he wasnt The One. No chemistry. No shared interests. No similar goals. No future that I could see beyond summer. But I didnt know how to tell him. When he asked me to go with him to the first fall football game, I stalled. Ive got other plans, I said. A cowards response, but there it was. I planned to meet some girlfriends at the game, but arrived earlier than they did. When I noticed Jess across the stadium, headed my way, I panicked. I looked up into the bleachers and spied Steve, a schoolmate, sitting by himself. In alphabetical style, his name being Bly and mine being Chester, hed sat in front of me all four years of high school English class. Wed done a lot of teasing back and forth. I considered him a friend. Nothing more. In a flash of inspiration, I saw an opening out of my dilemma of explaining myself to Jess. I shot up the steps and eased beside Steve on some pretense. To give the appearance we had come together. We chatted as I watched Jess pass by, with one quick look our way. Soon, the game started and I didnt leave. Steve bought me pizza afterward, then gave me a ride home in his 55 Chevy blue and white convertible with red interior. The following Monday morning I told him I couldnt find my Student Body card. Did I leave it in your car? Yep, he said. Can I have it back? Nope, he said, Unless you go out with me Friday night.

www.BlyBooks.com

Finding the Love of Your Life

Janet Chester Bly

Week after week, the friendship grew into a major crush, from my part. By Christmas, I met his parents, re-connected with his older sister, and felt I found home. We married less than two years later. . .more than four decades ago. Theres multitudes of ways of finding the love of your life. The search itself consumes plenty of time and energy. Finding the love of your life settles most of the facets of who you are and where youre going. If youve done it right. With some reason and logic. With some wisdom and guidelines. With some comprehension, a measure of sense of who you are and what he needs to be.

Hes your kindred spirit. Your soul mate. That is, hes compatible with your personality, worldview, and your passions. He offers you understanding, acceptance, and being valued. Out of this whole world hes chosen you. Only you. Such emotional power. Then it happens. You meet a guy. You like him. You think you love him. But youre not sure. Youve never really been in love before. You dont know what to expect. But you know that choosing him means you eliminate IS HE WORTH YOUR TIME? one supreme life pursuit. Lifes simplified, in Do you like the people close to him? that arena anyway. You open your door to Are you comfortable with his pattern of him and close it to all others. This is no relationships? trifling matter. What kind of baggage does he bring? Of course, reading this article wont Is he too pushy? insure your absolute success in finding the Does he get along with my friends & family? love of your life. But you might discover the one next step for you to take. . .or pick up an idea or plan that never occurred to you before. Thats why its worth your reading. Or give it to a friend whos looking for the love of her life.

Who is the love of your life?

WHATS YOUR MOTIVE?


Otherness: that strange encounter of separate identities as one person rubs up against another to produce an edge, to produce the flashing keenness of love. Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, pg.46 That sharp stab of first love. Oh, the marvel. And also the utter misery. Why do you want the pain of passion? Okay, you dont like being alone. You see yourself as a single in a two-some world. You feel theres a congenial counterpart out there. Somewhere. When you connect, youll feel at peace, whole, fulfilled. But are you sure youre ready to find the love of your life? For instance, do you know who you are yet and what youre meant to be? If not, how much beyond the first flush of the feelings of being in love do you need to see before you know this could make a compatible lifetime match? Its dicey to leap before you take an informed, hard look. Youve got this one life. Make your love count. Not only for your happiness, but for his peace and those around you.

Finding the Love of Your Life

Janet Chester Bly

Whats your motivations for searching for the love of your life? Check all that apply: __ Im lonely __ Im unhappy (at home, at work, with life in general) __ Ive just come through a bad relationship __ all my friends have found theirs __ my biological clocks ticking __ I need a financial partner __ Ive got lots of love to give __ I need to be loved __ other: ________________ Every woman needs to receive love. And give love. A woman becomes beautiful when she knows shes loved (John & Stasi Eldredge, Captivating, pg.112). A woman comes alive when shes pursued. But dont expect any man to be the center of your happiness. To meet your every need. To fulfill your deepest dreams. Only God can do that. You may not believe it now. But time, testing, and your tried faith will prove it to you. God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is. A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

The Love Wars


You have to weigh the positives and negatives to every relationship. Some things can be overlooked, like funny clothes or stupid hair. Buy new clothes and find a good stylist. But if they dont like your kids or are upset that your ex is actively co-parenting? That cant be overlooked. Jann Blackstone-Ford and Sharyl Jupe, co-founders of Bonus Families Just Walk Away and Heres Why, The Lewiston Tribune, 3/12/2008 Tyler was ten years older than Nicole, very handsome, divorced, and the father of two pre-schoolers. She was charmed by his attentions. She couldnt stand his little kids, so she stayed away when he had them. Otherwise, she knew he was perfect for her. Until she discovered he had two other girlfriends too. Nicole hadnt healed from her failed relationship with Tyler. She tried to ease the pain by jumping at the first guy who flirted. The hurt of rejection still stung. And she refused to assess what had happened between Tyler and her, to give herself that time for reflection. Instead, she flew into Seans arms. After two months, he dumped her too. She sought out an older friend from her church to confide in. When you fully forgive, youll be able to see clear enough to find the right one for you, her friend advised. Release Tyler in your mind and heart. And Sean. Release what you cant hold and keep. Besides, neither of these guys was good for you. Nicole got busy with her church and her job. She passed her real estate license. She determined to wait a full year before she dated again. That extended to two years. By then, she knew who she wanted. And why.

Finding the Love of Your Life

Janet Chester Bly

THE SEARCH
In our culture we allow adolescents, who do not yet fully understand themselves or their own needs, who have had absolutely no experience in choosing a mate, and who may be insecure, vascillating, and immature, to make a choice that is supposed to last for more than fifty years. Jim Conway, Men In Midlife Crisis, P. 181 So, where do you begin? You may find him at work. Or in class. Or at places you like to go for recreation or worship, doing hobbies or exercise. Nowadays its not uncommon to look on the internet, with varying degrees of success. And sometimes danger. Predators and con artists find naive girls and lonely women a potential online target. You do what you can to find that one person for whom youll spend your days learning to love.

One idea is to befriend or date a fair number of guysto get an overview of the types of personalities and what and who appeals to you most. A well-rounded social life aids with critical choices. Brother-sister relationships between the sexes enlarge all your worlds. One of the purposes of dating is to get to know those of the opposite sex and to learn to relate to them as persons. Half the world is made up of individuals of the opposite sex. If I fail to learn the art of building wholesome relationships with the other half, immediately I have limited my horizons considerably. BEST PLACES TO LOOK: Gary Chapman, Toward A Growing Marriage, p.16 1) Church 2) Retreats Catherine believes she found the love of her life at first sight. 3) Reunions I remember the first time I saw him at the bus stop. Zowie went my 4) Christian Conferences heart. Tender eyes. Shy smile. Neat, adorable mustache. And he 5) eHarmony.com carried a copy of a Dean Koontz novel. I love that authormakes me RISKY PLACES TO LOOK: shiver all over! 1) Internet chat rooms Weve been an item over six months. We still get on the 2) Bars same bus every day. Everything Ive learned about him I admire. Hes 3) Cruise ships a decent guy in every way. Communication comes so easy to us. 4) Job 5) Blind date

It begins before the moment of contact.


What do you want in a life partner? Its smart to think about that before the love hormone clogs your brain. Are you more likely to choose a guy who makes you feel good when youre with him? Or one who fits into your goals and dreams for the future? The sooner you know what you cannot tolerate in a relationship, the better up front choice youll make. The ideal is to engage your mind before you give your heart.

Finding the Love of Your Life

Janet Chester Bly

Okay, the heart often snaps to attention first. And then filters everything you see and hear. Realists may say, those who wait for the mind to analyze before investing emotion. . .never marry. Because all boys need to grow up. And all men have flaws. But at the least, form a friendship. Define who he is and who you are. Discern what you foresee of your future. Deepen conversations. Develop shared activities. The intricate process of becoming friends, especially best friends, probes the depths of discovering a potential lifetime mate. Vigorous proof requires going through lots of stuff together. Whom you choose. . .or dont choose. . .frames your character, reveals your moral resolve, and sets your priorities.

Choose your lifes mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness and misery. Be willing to wait for the love of your life. From

Lifes Little Instructions from the Bible.

GETTING-TO-KNOW-YOU-DEEPER ACTIVITIES: 1) Serve as counselors at a summer camp, 2) work together on a political committee, 3) chaperone a junior high field trip, 4) take on a debating class, 5) go whitewater rafting

What Do You Want/Need In A Life Partner?


Ive heard enough from psychotherapists and counselors over the years to believe that we shouldnt try to change each other. I discourage newlyweds, for example, from making marriage into a spousal remodeling project.
Pastor Forrest Claassen, Lewiston Tribune, 2/23/08 Its important to let him be who he is, not as you want or need him to be. Get to know his uniqueness. Keep an open eye on his reality. Can you accept his quirks without privately plotting to change him? Offer him friendship on his terms. Gouge out all pretense of appearances on your part. Are you able to express displeasure or concern in a way that helps rather than hinders? Somehow, find his pulse. Know the best and lesser beats of his heart. Discover at least one imperfection and measure it against his strengths. Does that one blemish alter everything? Does it dull your sureness? Has the life gone from his appeal? Jennifer shared thoughts about her fiance. It bothers me that Kevin isnt always kind. Hes not always gentle with others weaknesses. Sometimes even mine. But he works hard. And Ive noticed a fierce kind of loyalty to his employer and his friends. And to me. When bad things happen to me, hes the first one I want there. He seems to know what to say, what to do. He grasps the core of situations quickly. Thats important too. You want a relationship that makes sense. Something about it falls into place, with what youve been, with who you are now, with a future full of hope and promise. It feels good. More

Finding the Love of Your Life

Janet Chester Bly

than that, your mind and reason grasps a purpose for the two becoming one. Hes got to come packaged already with some of this going for him. From Staci, who broke up with her boyfriend of one year: I discovered I need honesty. I want compassion. Ive got to sense that hes got a will to understand me. Otherwise, well never connect at any level other than just acquaintances. When assessing the positives and FIND A THINK TANK. Where can you go to negatives of your past relationships, step think through your relationship? A private back a bit and determine whats been spot away from the emotional and social important to you from the beginning of pressures? Do you know a get-away where seeking a lifelong mate. What were your you can be by yourself in safety and quiet or expectations for falling in love? What are the with a trusted family member or girlfriend? sure would be nice traits as well as the How about a walk through the woods? A day Non-Negotiables for a man you want to at a park? A week at the beach? learn to love? What do you stand for and wont tolerate? Whether a guys in the picture yet or not, assess social, spiritual, and intellectual pursuits and interests that define you. Are you aware of your own value system? When youre in love, the temptations strong to ignore conflicting goals that can blow up when youve cooled down. Heres my Ten Things I Want in a Man: 1. Faith. He seeks Gods will daily. He tries to understand his experiences and situations from a divine viewpoint. And hell pray for me and us in times of need. 2. Creativity. His minds active. He likes to think, probe, debate. He prepares for the future, but makes the present come alive. He plans an occasional surprise for me. 3. A sense of humor. Because Im a melancholy temperament by nature, I want and need someone who makes me laugh. 4. Some common interests. He joins in some of my favorite activities. Ill also acquire a few new hobbies because of him. Weve got to have some shared ventures. 5. He works at our relationship. If somethings wrong between us, he seeks me out. Hell look to God, to us, and if need be, a professional, to work things out. 6. He loves me with touch. Hugs. Snuggles. A stolen kiss in an empty store aisle. A meaningful pat or wink in a crowd. 7. He makes me feel safe. He makes sure that Im as protected as I can be. In addition, I dont have to worry about what hes doing, where he is, or with whom. 8. He doesnt put me down in public. If I do stupid stuff, he waits until no one can hear or we get home to tell me about it. 9. Hes patient with my femaleness. I may get teary when we need to talk. Or get emotional over trifles. I may worry more. Sometimes I wont feel fulfilled or attractive or needed. Some days I need to be like a little girl and sit in his lap. Or I need to just play. 10. Hes decisive. Yet he respects my opinion. He includes me in the discussion. Make your own list. Put a mark by the ones that are presently being fulfilled, if any. Highlight the points that you consider crucial, non-negotiable.

Finding the Love of Your Life

Janet Chester Bly

Talk your list over with a friend. Or with a womens support group whom youve learned to appreciate and respectat church, on the job, at school. Ask them, what do these wishes seem to reveal about you? Ask yourself, how would you deal with unmet expectations?

can be dishonest. You work hard to present your best side. You try to keep him ignorant of your faults. You confuse love with physical Women Helping Women attraction, personal desire, even lust. This sets the Look to mature, stable friends, trusty stage for a whole pattern of behavior in your support groups, or a professional relationship. counselor to help you recognize Do you know his history? What are his warning signs: That this guys no habits? Has he been fickle or unfaithful before? good for you. That hell cause you Just as important, what does he need most from grief. Or that hes material for the you? Whats on his list of ten things he wants in a love of your life. Its okay to be woman? What can you contribute to his life? Do a lot of talking about important things. picky. Loneliness can lower the bar, Discuss your life goals. Examine your expectations but aim for a guy thats a good fit for this relationship. When these expectations are for his life and yours, as it is now all brought into the open, evaluated, challenged and as you dream it will be. and discussed, says counselor H. Norman Wright, greater harmony comes to the marriage (The Pillars of Marriage, Regal Books, p.44). Think through what needs you expect him to meet Bonnie and Tina both got it wrongin very different ways. Bonnie believed in the Perfect Mate Theory. When she found him, thered never be a squabble. If just a hint of discord appeared, out hed go. At age fifty, she felt certain shed finally found her Dream Man. Everything seemed so ideal for that two weeks on that cruise ship where they met. Surely this was the one. Do you think Im in love? she asked. No ones ever affected me like him. I think Ive found my match. Do you think hes the love of my life? Loves a choice, I finally told her on the phone in one of our many conversations. Its not just a magic meeting with the only one ever right for you. Youve got to choose to love him again everyday, as sometimes the mystery, sometimes the monotony of who he is unfolds. Bonnie broke up the engagement soon after. She admitted that her too high expectations set her up for disillusionment. She wasnt ready to trust her judgment. She expected some magical zap, a mystical sign instead. Otherwise, she couldnt handle the uncertainty of loving a possible imperfect man. Tina figured love would find her in the midst of bed hopping. Its all shed known since she was a hormone driven teen. Every date ended at her place. Sometimes the guy left the next morning and never returned. Tina didnt think of it as a one night stand. She was just trying guys out, to find the right one through chemistry alone. The perfect sex partner. Several stayed a spell. Her ways too common in our society, supported by movies and novels and the internet. She blames her men for their imperfections when shes part of enabling them. A generation ago a

The Courting Game . . .

Finding the Love of Your Life

Janet Chester Bly

young woman dated. Their friendship grew. They made some vows. Then came the kids. Even if the order got switched, the mores encouraged them to make things right. Today, one of the more common expectations, furthered by women, is that there is no orderwomen are free, easy, impregnable, disposable and replaceable. We have let go of the expectation that the men who create babies will step up to the plate and become responsible husbands and fathers. You know why men skate? Because the women let them. Lori Borgman, Its Time Women Put An End To The Live-in Boyfriend McClatchy-Tribune News Service, December 16, 2007 True intimacy, which gals like Tina seek, gets side-swiped when she sleeps with a guy before she knows a thing about what makes his brain tick. She knows his biceps, but not his biases or beliefs or what makes his blood run. Intimacy grasps his psyche, becomes comfortable with his innermost dreams, respect his fears. Intimacy penetrates the personality and soul, making you bosom buddies before youre bedmates.

Finding The Love


God never sends just one sign: He keeps on confirming His course for us with one vision after another. But the reading of His signs is essentially a task for faith, a task for people who are willing to persist in seeking. . . . Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, pg.21 You finally find him. But something snaps. A blunder is made. Its not the same. The relationships rocky for a bit, but remains stable. Then you face almost unbearable honesty. Accept that this thing happened. Give and accept apologies. Verbalize whats important to you. Clear the air and start over. Stronger than ever. Allow a certain grace note to enter. Thats what love and relationships all about, this side of heaven. Love is not an emotion. Love is not an experience. Love is a promise. A resolve. An attitude. An act of the willwanting to do good things for your loved one, even when hes cranky or ungrateful or lost in his own world. Love can be learned through practice. The willingness to love takes courage. You cant be afraid of the process or the discovery of facts you might find disappointing or frightful. Giving love gets you out of the pit of selfishness. Love is a choice. Love is lifes greatest challenge. You may need to choose to love this man over and over and over again. Doing the work of love isnt always convenient. Its high stakes commitment. Love is the roller coaster we call relationship. Finding the love of your life is so much easier than the nurture and maintenance afterward. The greatest love killer is self-will, self-seeking. Rampant ego. Angry impatience.

Not much gets through the barbed wire, not much gets by the great bulldog of the ego. For truly to open our hearts to another person is to invite them into our own throne room and to sit them down on our very own throne, on the seat normally warmed by no one but ourselves. And to do that is to have the throne, the seat of the ego, rocked off its foundations. Love is an earthquake that relocates the center of the universe. Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, pg.37

Finding the Love of Your Life

Janet Chester Bly

Deafness to the others problems. Hiding in a hard shell. Fully mature lovers mesh their wants and desires into doing for the other. Even when its inconvenient. Or not fun anymore. If you want love, you give it. But the twist? Expect nothing in return. Never underestimate the power of loneliness or desperation to entice you to do foolish things, to deceive you into dumb decisions. For instance, the boy youd pick at sixteen might not be the same man youd look at twice when youre twenty-five.

Warning signs Dont respect him. Hes very controlling. Dont feel like equals. Something doesnt feel right. Have reason not to trust him. Hes physically rough with you. The relationships out of control. Lack of wholehearted commitment. Sense that you picked the wrong guy. Secret resentment of his demands on your time. Dont share same important life goals and passions. Reluctance to give him more than your minimal attention. Having second thoughts whether youd be better off as a single. Dont recognize children from another partner as part of the package. On different paths in career choices, wanting kids or not, politics, or religion. Either of you have unhealed wounds or past failures that havent been confessed.
Brittany says, I knew he hurt too deeply to be sensitive to my needs. He was too absorbed in his own pain. But I figured my caring would get him through it. He just needed some healing time. But my mom saw it different. She thought him selfish and weak. She turned against him. That made me frustrated, but determined to come alongside, be his helper. But the day arrived that I finally gave up. He exhausted meall that rush of constant emotional turmoil. I had enough of my own. Christin knew her relationship with Eric was only superficial. I never felt free to share my thoughts at any deep level. I felt a check on several occasions to hide the ideals that mean the most to me, in fear that Id offend or wed get in an unpleasant disagreement. But I let that slide because I enjoyed his presence, his closeness, the loss of loneliness so much. Theres no sure-fire way to know if his imperfections match your coping mechanisms-without some experiences to explore, to try out these interactions. One suggestion is to measure your relationship with scriptures and all it says about true love, like those from 1 Corinthians 13 (MSG): Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesnt want what it doesnt have. Love doesnt strut,

Finding the Love of Your Life

Janet Chester Bly

10

Doesnt have a swelled head, Doesnt force itself on others, Isnt always me first, Doesnt fly off the handle, Doesnt keep score of the sins of others, Doesnt revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Which one of these concepts do you need to pay attention to most right now?

Reasons To Mate . . .
are legion. But not to be entered into without care and caution. Man united with woman is the most fragile, yet fruitful of human relationships. Its at once demanding and delightful. And sometimes sad. Theres value in confronting and confessing your gut level motives before searching for the love of your life. And recognizing the baggage that can derail your hopes. Such as, look into your past. And into his. Is there a quagmire of hurts? A mess of misunderstanding? A pool of suspicions? A wall of resentment? A galley of guilt? Write down five challenging things that he should know about you before he commits. And have him do the same. Know ahead, as much as possible, the stretches your heart and stamina must make to embrace this love of your life. Think this through until you can answer a definite yes or no. Do Marriage involves us synecdochically in this you cling to an any male will do as mystical activity of Gods by long as hes available and interested in choosing for us just one person, one total me mentality? Check it out: Have you stranger out of all the worlds had some wholesome friendships with billions, with whom to enter into the highest guys that have enabled you to play and deepest and farthest the field? Are you okay with your guy reaches of sacrificial, loving relationship. only as long as his attentions always Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, Pg.47 on you? Do you like him better when you can be seen together in public, In other words, marriage is a small sample than in private when its just you and of a very large picture of Gods love for the whole of him alone? humanity, and the love well express and fully enter into some day in heaven with all his children.

Some Stuffy Fax About Sex


Sex isnt just an act. Sex is a progression. Sex begins with kissing. It goes on to petting, then to heavy petting, and finally has its climax in intercourse. The couple that does everything up to intercourse but stops short of intercourse itself is doing

Finding the Love of Your Life

Janet Chester Bly

11

something unnatural to both bodies. Greg Speck, Sex: Its Worth Waiting For, pg.11 No healthy, wholesome relationship can grow thats centered solely on chemically charged activity. It stymies the personal growth of the individuals involved in the relationship. Likewise, if youve got no sparks, your love tanks empty. Somethings not happening for you here. You gotta feel some shivers for each other. Boundaries and balance keep the respect and romance right. For those who care about staying in control of body urges, heres some blunt guidelines offered by pastoral counselor, Gary Chapman (Toward A Growing Marriage, p.21,22): How do you avoid sexual intercourse? 1. Never take your clothes off. 2. Never put hands under clothes. 3. Never lie down together. There you have itsimple rules for saving the hottest fireworks for after the ceremony.

Sealing the Deal


The taking of vows is an act of faith. If people were faithful by nature, vows would not be necessary; their yes would be yes and their no would be no. But it is because people are not inherently faithful nor honest nor loving that they must stand up and declare that they will be. Mike Mason, The Mystery of Marriage, pg.97 Sealing the deal means commitment. . . the formal affirmation that youll love him now and promise to learn to love him better as the years go by. Commitment confronts your bent to laziness, that evolves into apathy, and taking anothers passion and being there for granted. Commitment arouses duty and sacrifice, the essentials of dependable social connect. Commitment signifies you grow up and dont blame him for every whit of your unhappiness. You dont expect him to provide your every whim. Ask rather, what can you do for him? The good news: that terrifying decision to commit becomes easier if youre head-overheels crazy in love. Its like a soothing drug. An anesthetic. Youre insane enough to have the audacity to trust another human with the key to your heart. Thats both the benefit and bane of the in-love frenzy. The intoxicating perfume of the first stages of attraction can overpower all caution. The careless disregard of basic good sense and morals--such as insisting he treat you with respect and honor--preclude relational disaster. Theres no more worthy exercise on earth than to approach mating with a desire and will to do it as right as you can. To become the best of lovers. And more than lovers. To be best friends. To work side-by-side to build a home, make a family. Loves not something that just zaps you. You can make it happen. By giving yourself the gift of finding the love of your life. And the journey to finding the love of your life gets much more powerful when God is in it. He enables couples chosen by Him to accomplish purposes beyond what you could ever ask or think. Your match somehow includes the plans for eternity. You bring Him glory.

++++++++++++THE

END++++++++++++

Finding the Love of Your Life

Janet Chester Bly

12

Janet Chester Bly


Copyright2008 janet@blybooks.com www.BlyBooks.com

Let me know if you have an interesting story to share about how you found the love of your life. Let me know if youd be willing to share your account for my website. Ill use only your first name or a pseudonym, if you prefer. Send to janet@blybooks.com and put Finding the Love of Your Life in the subject line. To find both inspirational fiction and nonfiction books that deal with the challenge and joys of doing relationships, check out the bookstore at the Bly Books website: http://www.blybooks.com/.